Victoria and Vancouver Island Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog

Whether you are relocating to Vancouver Island, or already live in the perfect piece of paradise, there is always something new to appreciate each and every day.

There are several reasons why Victoria and Vancouver Island are the most desirable places to live. If you love theatre, food, arts, and entertainment, there are activities and communities to satiate your appetite. The Island is an outdoor enthusiasts mecca, from golf to fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking, you will thoroughly appreciate the ability to stay active all year long.

In our blog, you'll find a number of topics! 

Tips on renovations and design, market updates, and trends are all on the table. I aim to promote a sense of community that will connect you to this special part of the world. Peruse everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I'd love to talk with you!

June 11, 2021

June Market Update

 

May Victoria Market Recap 

(from June Newsletter) 

🏠 GET A FREE VALUE ASSESSMENT ON YOUR HOME 🏠

 

Values Increase While Inventory Stagnates

Although May was a strong month, overall sales were 6% lower than the previous month of April. Single Family Home sales decreased by 4.8% and Condo sales by 1.8%.

Demand is still very high, so these numbers reflect the very tight inventory situation we find ourselves in. There were 4 fewer homes for sale this month over last; only 1450 active listings, which is a 43% decrease from inventory levels in 2020.

This squeeze in inventory has pushed the value of Single Family Homes up 6.9% from two months ago, and by 17% since May 2020. Though less substantial, condo prices have also risen, 5.2% over last May.

 

The President of The Victoria Real Estate Board has stressed that “Adding inventory to the GVA Market should be the focus of every municipality council across the region. If people are concerned about attainable housing and the future of homes in Greater Victoria, they need to consider supporting the next housing development in their community”.

 

Many of these newer projects add substantial and unique amenities that are making condo and townhouse living more attractive. From personal rooftop garden plots to onsite carshares and geothermal heating, there is an element of superior comfort in many of these developments. A focus on fostering a sense of community and belonging through increased common spaces and amenities also makes them attractive to families.

 

May 2021

Sales: 1,049

Active listings: 1,450 SFH, Victoria Core: $1,036,100

(17% increase over last April and 3% increase over last month)

Condo, Victoria Core: $526,000

(5.2% increase over last April)

 

May 2020

Sales: 457

Active listings: 2,073

SFH, Victoria Core $885,900

Condo, Victoria Core: $500,000

 

If you are looking to enter the Victoria market, or to sell your current home it is very important to ensure you are getting expert advice at every level of the Real Estate Process. I have a wide network of experts that I trust, including financial advisors, property lawyers, and appraisers. I encourage you to reach out if you are looking for a referral. If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!

📞C: 778.400.6047

📧 info@VicProperty.com

FULL STATS available at: https://www.vreb.org/pdf/VREBNewsReleaseAndSummary.pdf

 

Posted in Market Updates
May 17, 2021

Overview of All Greater Victoria Neighbourhoods

 

 

Here's a quick guide to help you if you're looking to move, buy a property or relocate to the Victoria, BC area. I cover the Saanich peninsula from Sidney along the west coast out to Sooke and up the Malahat!

VIDEO CONTENTS:

0:00 What should I be looking for in a Neighbourhood?

1:59 Greater Victoria Municipalities Intro

2:36 City of Victoria/ Fairfield/ James Bay/ Rockland

4:42 Municipality of Oak Bay- Gonzales/ Uplands/ Henderson

5:14 East Saanich- Cadboro Bay/ Cordova Bay/ Queenswood/ Gordon Head

5:55 West Saanich- The Gorge/ Tillicum/ Royal Oak/ Beaver, Prospect & Elk Lake

7:44 Central Saanich- Dean Park/ Brentwood Bay/ Saanichton

9:21 Esquilmalt & Vic West

11:41 The West Shore- Colwood / Langford/ Bear Mountain/ Highlands/Metchosin/ Sooke

13:23 Malahat Region- Shawnigan Lake/ Mill Bay/ Cobble Hill / Cowichan Valley

14:03 The Best Way to Pick Your Neighbourhood

 

May 11, 2021

May Market Update

April Victoria Market Recap 

(from May Newsletter) 

Links in Video:

How I Survived an Avalanche

Donate to Breast Cancer Research

 

 

2016 was busier but we're feeling

the heat more now

 

Last April the world ground to a halt, so yes, sales have certainly increased over last year,  a substantial 111% for Condos and 88% for Single Family Homes- but it’s necessary to look back to previous years and compare trends to get a more accurate picture. 

 

Over the past 5 years, average April sales were 896 with 2016 having the highest number of sales at 1,286.  For comparison, April 2021 had a total of 1,116 sales… so not that far off!

 

What is strikingly different, however, is the amount of inventory available. The previous five-year average for active listings was 2,596, and this April the average was around 1000 homes LESS than that, ending the month with 1,454 active listings.

 

There has been a great increase in consumer demand for homes in the Greater Victoria area that has pushed prices upwards and increased the number of multiple offer situations and unconditional offers on listed properties. These can be scary and unfamiliar situations, even to seasoned home buyers, and working with an experienced Realtor, like myself, can ensure your best interests are taken care of. 

 

April 2021

Total sales: 1,116
New listings: 1,516
Active listings: 1,454

SFH, Victoria Core  $996,500 

(12.6% increase over last April and 2.9% increase over last month)

 

April 2020

Total: 287
New listings: 667
Active listings: 2,305

SFH, Victoria Core  $884,600

 

The imbalance in the Victoria market is due to limited housing supply with new builds and projects taking time. There are a number of new, community-focused areas in development right now that I am excited about. I mention some of them in my newsletter video above, and I’d be happy to chat with you more about these and where I see the biggest opportunities.

 

In addition to whatever your real estate needs may be, do not hesitate to reach out if you need any recommendations for contractors or home services. I'd be happy to provide some of my favourites.

 

Have a fantastic May and enjoy all the new blooms!

Posted in Market Updates
May 7, 2021

I Survived an Avalanche

I was caught in an avalanche in 2005, and am a very lucky man to be here today!

 

Robin circa 2005-ish

On December 28, 2005, my friends and I were skiing at Kicking Horse Resort. We all had several years of backcountry skiing experience and training and chose to venture outside of the area boundary after lunch to evaluate the snowpack.

 

Three of us dropped below the ridgeline and performed a standard column isolation and compression test. The snowpack was extremely volatile and we elected to go back into the resort. As I was climbing back to the top of the ridge, the entire slope failed.

 

It was the scariest moment of my life! Time slowed down and I looked to my left, where my friend was also being pulled down. I thought. "I'm going to die right now, I can't believe this is it for me, I can't do this to my family" Then I was gone.

 

I was swept over a cliff and heard a big pop. Something was broken. Buried in the snow, I felt myself get pushed out and swept over another small cliff.  I landed on my back and was so relieved to be conscious. I knew at that point that I had a chance.

 

So, I tried to stand but was hit with more snow and landed on my stomach. I started swimming, quite literally, for my life. As the slide started to slow down, I kept swimming and when it stopped, I was immediately frozen in the snow! Thankfully my head and my right hand were above the snow. I was so relieved to be alive!!

 

Luckily my friend who was a ski patrol was not fully swept down with me and he was able to radio to the resort and get them to call a helicopter. In the meantime, my friends roped up and tried to get down to me but they triggered another small slide.

 

Eventually, the helicopter was able to land and the ski patrol stabilized me.  I had shattered my femur and perforated my femoral artery; I needed surgery. 

Robin and son

Each and every day I am grateful to all of the people who helped save my life. Needless to say, not a lot stresses me out anymore. I'm so thankful for this wonderful life and love being able to meet new people and help them with their home needs. 

I still ski and love taking my son out as often as we can!

-Robin 

 

Posted in Meet Robin
May 6, 2021

Starting the Mortgage Process

When & How To Find the Right Mortgage Professional

 

While it is my job and absolute pleasure to help you find your dream home, there are a few boxes you need to check in advance, so that you are ready to put in an offer and make confident choices in our fast-paced property market. 

 

That’s where mortgage professionals come in. I recommend working with a designated mortgage specialist who can provide you with tailored services, and detailed knowledge of the mortgage industry. Like working with the right Realtor, choosing the right advisor can make all the difference to how smooth and stress-free your experience is. 

When Should I Start?

 

It’s important to speak to a lender in advance of home hunting. A good Mortgage Specialist will review your financial landscape will reveal any areas that may need attention or where changes can be made so that you can lock in a better approval, rates or terms.

 

They will provide advice and coach you on actions you may need to take to be set up for success. Generally, this is

 recommended 3-6 months in advance of a serious home hunt. 

 

During this process, you will also be ‘pre- approved’ for a mortgage amount that will give you a budget for your home shopping. It is important to share this information with your Realtor, to ensure that they can provide you with the best properties that fit.  

 

Our market in Victoria is hot, but please remember that you don’t have to choose a property that’s at your maximum mortgage approval amount. Take some time to think on it and decide what’s the best fit for your situation and your family! I am happy to help by providing different property types or areas to consider that might be a better fit than you those you had originally had in mind.

 

Beyond your initial purchase, mortgage professionals can continue to help you after you own your home. Don’t forget to seek their expertise on the best ways to manage your assets during big life changes such as new businesses, job losses, or divorce. 

 

 

How Do I Make the Best Choice?

 

To start with it’s important to choose an experienced mortgage professional. 

 

Enquire about their experience and credentials. Have they taken any additional licensing courses to enhance their knowledge? Have they been able to move up in their industry because they are good at what they do?

Look at the satisfaction of past clients through online reviews, do they come highly recommended?

 

A woman sitting in the stairs next to a man showing him something on a laptop

 

Finding the Right Fit

 

You may want to speak with more than one advisor or broker before you decide who you want to work with, and that’s ok!

 

Communication is key. Your advisor should be able to explain your options to you in a clear and easily understandable way and to answer your questions confidently. 

 

You should feel comfortable with them and be able to explain your financial situation openly. It’s important for your advisor to know the details of your financial past and your hopes for the future. Withholding information from them makes it harder for them to give you the best options for you. 

 

Choose an advisor who is attuned to your needs and shows you options with an explanation of their pros and cons as well as any possible limitations. 

 

For example: 

  • A low rate option may come with a 5 year period of restrictions which means you cannot refinance or transfer during that time. What does that mean if you were planning to use equity for home renovations?

 

  • You are planning to make additional payments to shorten your mortgage term- Does the lender allow this or do they charge penalties for doing so?

-------------------------------------

**There have been some recent changes to federal policy that could affect your borrowing rules and buying power. These articles will provide an introduction, courtesy of Auxilium Mortgage, but it's important to speak to a professional who can provide guidance and sound advice. 

Click to Read More: 

Stress Test for Uninsured Mortgages will change June 1, 2021

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Updated for Victoria, Vancouver & Toronto Markets

 

Robin’s Recommendations

 

Having helped many clients over the years, I have been able to work with some stellar mortgage professionals. Here are my top 2 recommendations to help you in your home purchasing and owning journey!

 

 

 

Charlotte Ray

Mortgage Specialist l RBC Royal Bank 

250-589-9912

charlotte.ray@rbc.com

https://mortgage.rbc.com/charlotte.ray   

 

Kam Brar

Mortgage Partner| Auxilium Mortgage   

250 590 6520

kam@auxiliummortgage.com

https://auxiliummortgage.com/profile/kam-brar/

 

Tyler McTaggart

Mortgage Specialist | Designer Capital Inc.   

250 217 1914

Tyler@tylermctaggart.com 

https://designercapital.ca

 

 

Broker vs. Bank 

 A Mortgage Broker is an intermediary who does not work for any specific bank or institution. They can shop around and compare rates with different lenders, and provide you with more options. Not all brokers work with all lenders, so it is important to ask your potential broker how wide their scope is. Additionally, ask what their fees are- brokers are typically paid by the lender, not by you, the borrower, but it's important to ask. Your broker should be 100% upfront with you on this, or it’s a red flag. 

 

Mortgage Advisor/Specialist who works for a specific lender (typically a bank) will be able to offer you options financed through that institution. If you’re already a client of that bank, this option may be more convenient, as they will already have access to your financials. There can also be additional perks for combining your financial products with one institution. You are not tied to only looking through your current provider but can shop around by meeting with more than one bank. 

 

 

 

Posted in Mortgages
April 10, 2021

April Market Update

 

March Victoria Market Recap 

(from April Newsletter) 

 

 

Condos offering great

value for buyers!

 

 

Wow, last March the pandemic was just starting to reach us on Vancouver Island and businesses began to close and people began staying in to help 'flatten the curve'. Concepts like social distancing, cohorts, and bubbles were added to our everyday conversations, and these big changes reflected in our real estate market. 

 

In March 2020 there were 608 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board area and last month that number rebounded a whopping 92.9% with 1,173 sales!

 

The sale of condos increased by 111% surging past the 88% increase that Single Family Homes had over last March.

 

Looking more historically to other years that didn’t have such drastic world events, the market is still hotter than it ever has been. The imbalance in inventory that we're seeing favors sellers and comes from an increase in people looking to move to our beautiful island. And really, I can't blame them!

 

The MLS home price benchmark for single-family homes in March 2020 was just over $879k with the price increasing this year to average $968,700. This new average also represents a 2.2% increase from the previous month, February 2021. 

 

Condos in the Victoria core averaged sale prices of $531,800 in March 2020 and actually saw a slight decrease, of 0.5%, to average $529,100 last month. While this decrease is slight, it represents a great area of opportunity. 

 

Now is a great time to consider buying or investing in a condo as their value and selling price is lagging behind the sharper increases seen in the single-family home market. I don’t anticipate that this delay will last forever, so it would be a good idea to benefit from this while you can.

 

As the weather warms up, and we are encouraged to stay small and stay local, I am every day reminded how grateful and happy I am to call this city home. 

 

If you’re looking to make a move, or move to the Island to see what you’re missing I encourage you to reach out. Give me a call, send me an email or visit my various social platforms and let me answer any questions you may have and help you navigate this fast-paced market. I’d love to see you out on the trails!

 

 

Happy April and talk again soon!

 

Posted in Market Updates
April 1, 2021

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Curious about local real estate?

So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price, and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active, and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates
March 5, 2021

February Market Update

 

Victoria Market Recap 

 

 

Demand Surges against 

Limited Supply!

 

Spring is typically when the Real Estate market picks up, but to be honest, things have been swinging since the beginning of 2021!  Even so, we expect an uptick in activity and that means deals happen fast. 

 

There has been a bit of stabilization in condo pricing and availability since January, but the mainstay continues to be the high demand and low inventory for Single Family Homes. 

 

Multiple offers and competition are driving up prices. The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria Core in February 2020 was $870,300. The benchmark value for the same home in February 2021 increased by 9 percent to $948,200. 

 

Victoria Real Estate Board President, David Langlois, says that these trends are likely to continue as demand suppression and foreign buyer tax implementations have not quelled the domestic demand to live in our beautiful island city.  He also stresses that making space in our communities with  "gentle density and the building of new homes is the only pathway to moderate housing prices in our area".

 

If you are thinking about making a move but have concerns over finding the right home for your family in such a fast market, I’d love to have a chat with you. There are a lot of options and routes that may be available, that you might not be aware of. 

 

As a Real Estate Professional, I have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on and speak with other agents on a daily basis. I have the confidence I can help you get you where you want to go, with the minimal amounts and stress and maximum amount of benefit!

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 10, 2021

January Market Update

 

Victoria Market Recap 

 

 

As I mentioned the market has been pretty wild lately! 

High demand coupled with a low inventory of properties for sale has resulted in competition and high sale prices. Single Family home sales increased by 57.3% over last year and Condo sales increased a whopping 83.1%.  With the inventory on the market right now being a significant 32.5% less than at the end of January 2020, there's a lot of interest in new listings.

The luxury market has also experienced huge gains over last year- somewhat of a surprise given the pandemic. This January there were 25 properties sold for over $2m whereas in 2020 there were only 2. 


Victoria Real Estate Board President David Langlois says that, "Right now, navigating both the buying and selling process is challenging. With many moving pieces and in such a fast-paced market it's important to leverage the experience and expertise of your trusted local Real Estate Professional." 

 

Know that I'm always here to help- it's important to me that my clients are properly informed so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families!

 

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 1, 2021

Coming soon

More Fun Things To Come!